Do you ever wonder at the Christian tradition of being married at an altar? Here is the bridegroom all decked out in formal finery gazing wistfully upon his beautiful bride in her white satin and lace while everyone is trying to see around the photographer and Aunt Judith is loudly blowing her nose. Happily ever after is just waiting to enfold the sweet couple at the end of the aisle.
I mean, historically an altar was a blood-stained place of sacrifice…
I know I’m not alone. Dot-gov says it’s 74 F., (and it’s not even eight o’clock in the morning), with an expected high of 94 and heat index of 105.
Of course, drinking my delicious hot tea probably doesn’t help.
But I love my tea, on the patio, in the morning. If I waited for perfect conditions I’d be inside all day most every day.
My dear brother and sister-in-law from Minnesota are visiting. It’s been terrific, but the high heat and 2000% humidity doesn’t suit them either. We took them over to a friend’s place to pick some sweet corn, thankfully right before this life-altering weather took hold.
I’m thinking of heading over there again myself this afternoon when they go visit their daughter nearby, to get some more for them to take home tomorrow. I’m starting a new sport: Midwest Extreme Corn Pickin’.
Life’s too short to wimp out.
Of course, the farmers here in the Midwest don’t wait for perfect conditions either; I’m really happy about that. I like to eat.
I’m also really appreciative that God didn’t wait for me to get my life together before He invited me into His home. In fact, I didn’t even have to wipe my feet! Here’s how one of His early saints put it:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners…But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
I suspect lots of people still think of Christianity as achieving some perfected state. It’s not about my perfection, however, it’s about His. He doesn’t even want me to wipe my feet before I come inside the door. Instead, Jesus has this habit of washing our feet Himself! In other words, my sin is the “perfect condition” for the application of His perfect righteousness.
He also makes it clear that it’s His washing that gives me the capacity to be clean. There’s definite partnership in this situation, but it’s not until He washes my spiritual condition that I can clean up my act.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
So there’s no waiting for this relationship to get going, or it may not come to pass. It’s like waiting for perfect conditions to make picking the corn more comfortable—instead, it’ll just rot in field.
“Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.”
As far as the sweet corn is concerned, I’ll just wait for the heat index to get a little higher.
[Postscript: In the interest of honesty, our farming friends picked corn and brought some out to us this morning so I wouldn’t have to endure the heat. There’s another whole analogy there…)
The above title was the advertising tag for one of those insipid tabloids from years past that grace the check-out counter at the grocery store. They tend to be right there with the candy bars to make it more convenient to rot your body and soul at the same time. In my mind, tabloids rank up there with Harlequin romances and other forms of mental/emotional snake oil.Continue reading ““Because enquiring minds want to know.””
I felt this pull while praying to check my website email. Putting it off as a distraction, I went back to praying, only to have it crop up again. So, I asked the Lord if this is something He was wanting me to do right now. I immediately heard, “Go for it.”
Okay, checking the email, nothing there I needed to see as far as I could tell. That’s a little discouraging since maybe I didn’t hear from Him after all, which then degrades into maybe none of the things I think I’ve heard in the past are from Him either, which spirals into the typical that-works-for-others-but-not-me mindset of my past. Doubt, failure, intimidation.
Regardless of whether I heard right or not, I know that those last three thoughts are not from God either! What do I do with this?
Then I realize I’m still on the steep end of the learning curve. In fact, we’re all on the steep end of the learning curve until the day we leave this place, so I’m in good company. And the learning curve is just that, learning. That, in itself, is encouraging. I was a good student in school, but I still had to study and learn from my mistakes. In fact, mistakes are some of the best instructive devices! Plus, I know I have the best Teacher.
The opposite plays right into the enemy’s strategy: discouragement. Who would want me to stop praying and jump off that learning curve? Who has a vested interest in my giving in to doubt, failure and intimidation? And fear of deception (one of my personal past Big Three)?
Besides, if I need to hear from God about something important with obvious far-reaching consequences, He is good enough to confirm it for me. He did that with Gideon, and He promises He doesn’t play favorites. Plus, He has provided safeguards during the process: the Bible, koinonia with those who are further up the curve than myself, and of course, the Holy Spirit Himself.
He also promises that His sheep hear and know His voice. Jesus is patient and kind and gentle, so I’m not by myself on this mountain of a learning curve. Psalm 23 says, He leads me in paths of righteousness, and that He is with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Well, if He’s with me there, surely He’s with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt.
I can let this serve to increase my tenacity and resolve, pushing me further in, rather than scaring me away. Good things don’t necessarily come easily, and great things come with a price.
Hey, this is good stuff. Maybe I heard Him after all.
Which means, “I love you!” in the beautiful language I’m trying so hard to learn—Swedish. This will be one of the native tongues for my second grandchild, as her wonderful Pappa is Swedish, and they are soon to be living there.
As a point of connection, (and, as a grandmother, when you live as far away as I do, you actively seek points of connection), I’m investing some time in this little project. She’ll know English also, but she’ll have fun giggling at her “mormor”, (the Swedish name for maternal grandmother), as I stumble through and unintentionally desecrate an otherwise delightful sounding language.Continue reading ““Jag älskar dig!””
I’m a bit fascinated by the concept of Prayer Wheels. Put somewhat simplistically, a Prayer Wheel is cylindrical collection of Buddhist mantras wrapped around a central core that turns (usually clockwise) so that every time it makes a full revolution, the virtue (“merit”) of those scripted prayers are incurred by the one who turns it. It’s generally recommended that the practitioner use a form of meditation at the same time, but I’ve read that, even in a distracted state of mind, merit is still obtained. The more it is turned, the more benefit is received. This from Lamayeshe.com:Continue reading “The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)”
You know the typical story of the excited grandparent that buys their 5-month-old grandchild a full-size baseball glove?
Yeah, that’s us. We are now decidedly in that category.
Bob recently had a delightful conversation with our eldest granddaughter, soon to turn the ripe old age of four. Her mom is just so amazingly great about taking her to museums and using so many available resources for their Precious One’s brain development! And, since Grandpa teaches biology at our local college, naturally a little course on “cells” has been on the educational menu of late.
Precious One has decided that microscopes are all the rage right now. So, in an effort to take advantage of this current (and momentary) interest, I thought it prudent to send her a toy representation. Of course, the one I picked out was W-A-Y too juvenile…according to the Professor. Continue reading “Grandparenting 101.”
My dad had a shop in the basement, a couple of rooms of the basement in fact. It was pretty awe-inspiring. His big engineer’s drafting table, from which hung the triangle and T-square, dominated one room, the one in which he built in all the new cabinets himself. I think that was before he designed and built the beautiful screened-in back porch.
The actual shop was in an adjacent room. This housed a myriad of baby food jars filled with screws and washers and all types and sizes of things. His lathe was in there, and the circle saw, and undoubtedly a host of other things I would have no idea how to use. (What’s a router??)
If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of cat and dog photos. That’s okay, since it’s a subject obviously near and dear to the owner’s heart. I even wrote a children’s book about my dog—ready for this??—in Swedish, for my Swedish granddaughter.
(Sidebar—Yes, I’m trying to learn Swedish, such a beautiful language. I use my vocabulary words, plus a few others to fill in the blanks, to write primary-style stories along the lines of “See Jane. See Jane run.” Because that’s about the level of my Swedish. So why not write about my dog, along with photos?)
One of the wonderful things about dogs, we are told, is that they live in the now. There’s no worrying about tomorrow or fretting over yesterday. For them, it’s a total embracing of present tense, in every encounter, every situation. Continue reading “Beware: broken sidewalk”
I had no idea how much my middle adult daughter loves jigsaw puzzles! We rarely did any when she was growing up, just not my thing, you know. She says it’s a stress buster, and just plain fun.
Now that I know this little tidbit of info this one who lives half a continent away, I’ve decided to give her a year-long birthday present of a puzzle a month. Only with a little twist: Bob and I will build the puzzle first, turning it over when completed and writing a message on the back.
She’s all in!
But wait, there’s more. I’ve sent out an APB to family to get them involved. Now, when the hub and I finish a puzzle, I (carefully) wrap it up and mail it to different family members for THEM to write/color/draw on the back, send it back to me (postage pre-paid) and then I break it up and send it off to its new coastal home.
They’re all in!
Okay, yeah, this is getting expensive. Hopefully I’ll have some ready and rolled up when we travel to actually be with family and get a few done in advance that way. It’ll be worth it though, helping my middle child connect with family in a unique way, dontchaknow?!Continue reading “Puzzled”